RPG Gaming

Goals

By TSR

This topic is the most important aspect of your D&D games. Goals give the payers and the DM something to strive for, and provide all with a sense of reward and accomplishment once completed. Without goals, the most exciting adventures imaginable are just simple exercises. The best and longest-running D&D games are those that have definite objectives. Without a greater purpose, players quickly lapse into boredom.

A question that the DM must answer for everyone is: Why are the characters adventuring? The Dungeon Master should offer several levels of goals and several options for each goal. By presenting possible goals, the DM can keep control of the campaign while leaving freedom of choice in the hands of the players, where it should be. Here are some levels of goals to consider…

A campaign goal has a very broad purpose, usually involving the fate of a nation or entire world and ties together all the adventures and happening in the campaign. This goal created the major struggle of the world. Your campaign goal might be to "bring peace to the world," or to "crush the evil empire of Alphatia and free the homeland of Thyatis," or some other great and noble purpose. The PC's might be a small but crucial part of the action toward that goal, or might be major forces in the fight. If a campaign goal is ever completed, there should follow a period of relative quiet, perhaps even tourneys and festivals, before a new campaign goal is introduced.

The campaign goal can consist of several long-range, strategic goals. Each represents a step toward the overall goal, but is still very broad, reached after playing many adventures. Strategic goals might be to "free our continent of evil tribes," or to "unit the nations so they will aid us in our fight against evil."

Each strategic goal is comprised of many short-range, tactical goals. The goal of uniting the nations could be made up of tactical goals like "befriending the good creatures of the Forbidden Forest," "aiding the good people of Ylaruam so as to oblige them to aid us in the future," and so forth.

In addition to adventure-related goals, each character often has personal goals that affect other goals. A PC might seek great personal power, friendship, or a collection of magical items.

The DM shouldn't force goals on the players. Offer possible goals to the players, adding a hint of mystery that lies ahead. Be prepared to change goals as needed, for players can be amazingly unpredictable and inventive. All types of goals change often, as the players contribute their own ideas and preferences to the shape of the overall campaign. The final result is a unique blend of the DMs intentions and the player's imaginations, enjoyed by all.

Write the goals down. This helps to organize your thoughts, creates well-defined objectives, and develops a plan for your campaign.

In creating dungeons, wilderness encounters, and other game elements, always consider the various goals of the campaign. Design for a specific purpose. This is not to say that each and every game must be a serious step toward a goal. Simple dungeon explorations are very entertaining on occasion, a release of frustrations and a welcome lapse back to the basics of the game. Having goals doesn't prohibit light-heated adventuring. If humor is not well-represented in the game, the DM and players are taking it much to seriously. Make jokes, toss out puns, and set up purely frivolous and ridiculous situations. Enjoy yourselves. But, in the long run, adventures are far more satisfying, and more interesting if there is a well-defined goal to strive for.